England are the Six Nations champions

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 13:01
Large jonathan joseph england evades tackle 800

SIX NATIONS REPORT: England were in an unforgiving mood as they claimed the 2017 Six Nations title - with a game to spare - after seeing Scotland off 61-21 at Twickenham on Saturday.

A rampant England ran in seven tries in total against a Scotland side who had arrived in London bidding for the Triple Crown and with hopes of a first Twickenham victory since 1983.

England's points tally was also the most either side had managed in the 135-match history of rugby union's oldest fixture and saw them equal their record 40-point margin of victory against the Scots, set in a 43-3 success in 2001.

England had not led at half-time in any of their previous matches this Six Nations but were all but, in their best display of the season, out of sight at 30-7 ahead at the break Owen Farrell, who passed fit shortly before kick-off following a leg injury, converted all seven tries and kicked four penalties for a match haul of 26 points.

Scotland did manage three converted tries, prop Gordon Reid going over in the first half before centre Huw Jones crossed twice after the break. But Joseph completed his treble early in the second half before the strength of England's bench came to the fore.

Powerhouse No.8 Billy Vunipola needed just five minutes of his Test comeback following a knee injury to score a try before replacement scrumhalf Danny Care crossed twice late on to seal an emphatic win.

England will surpass the world champion All Blacks' record if they beat Ireland in Dublin in the final match of the Six Nations next weekend - a match where a victory will also see Eddie Jones's men complete back-to-back Grand Slams.

England kicked off this Calcutta Cup clash knowing any kind of win would see them crowned Six Nations champions after Wales beat Ireland 22-9 in Cardiff on Friday.

Scotland were fortunate that hooker Fraser Brown was not sent off as early as the second minute for a dangerous, late tackle on Elliot Daly, with French referee Mathieu Raynal deciding a yellow card was sufficient punishment.

But no sooner had Scotland been reduced to 14 men, than Joseph, recalled in place of Ben Te'o following the 36-15 win over Italy, scored a third-minute try. The ball was spun wide and Joseph's run saw him beat opposing centre Alex Dunbar.

England, with flank Maro Itoje making ground and Joseph continuing to cause problems, then won two close-range penalties which Farrell kicked to extend their lead to 13-0 as early as the 15th minute.

Scotland then saw star fullback Stuart Hogg leave the field for a head injury assessment, with his replacement Mark Bennett soon forced off with a leg injury. In the midst of the disruption, Joseph scored his second try when another well-timed run saw him slice through yet more weak defence.

The Scots got on the scoreboard just before the half hour when Reid burrowed over after his side had declined a kickable penalty. But Farrell added another penalty and England had a third try in the 35th-minute.

Farrell released Joseph with a well-timed pass and he found Anthony Watson, on for the injured Daly, who sped over against an overwhelmed Scotland defence. Joseph completed his hat-trick early in the second half when another well-judged run saw him go over off the back of a close-range ruck.

Farrell converted and added another penalty to leave England in command at 40-7.

Huw Jones did reduce England's lead when he crossed for a 50th-minute try, flyhalf Finn Russell again converting, but Scotland was now in damage-limitation mode. Billy Vunipola charged over from a line-out drive in the 58th minute before Huw Jones grabbed his second score.

But Care's two late tries, a dart followed by the scrumhalf crowning a prolonged period of possession, emphasised England's dominance.

Man of the match: Scotland played in patches and were not quite in the match but Huw Jones' all-round effort boosted his chances of British and Irish Lions selection while Finn Russell was steady in the losing cause. George Ford got his backline firing off the back of some excellent work by the pack but our award goes to hat-trick hero Jonathan Joseph who proved what a devastating runner he is.

Moment of the match: You could choose any of the tries but Fraser Brown's yellow card put his side on the back foot and it remained an uphill battle for the remainder of the match.

Villain of the match: Fraser Brown's second-minute yellow card handed England the immediate advantage and they took full advantage.

Scorers:

For England:
Tries: Joseph 3, Watson, B Vinupola, Care 2
Cons: Farrell 7
Pens: Farrell 4

For Scotland:
Tries: Reid, Jones 2
Cons: Russell 2

Yellow card: Fraser Brown (Scotland, foul play - tip tackle, 2)

Teams:

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tom Wood, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te'o, 23 Anthony Watson.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Mark Bennett.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 22 July 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 07h35 Christchurch
Lions v Sharks 12h30 Johannesburg
Stormers v Chiefs 15h00 Cape Town
Griquas v Blue Bulls 17h30 Kimberley
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 12h30 Nelspruit
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 21 July 2017
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
Highlanders v Reds 40 | 17
Sat, 08 July 2017
Stormers v Sunwolves 52 | 15
Bulls v Kings 30 | 31
Waratahs v Jaguares 27 | 40
New Zealand v B&I Lions 15 | 15
Fri, 07 July 2017
Force v Rebels 31 | 22
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0